Metal Gear Solid Review: Boss?...BOOSS???!!


Boss?, Boss?!?, BOOOOSSSSS?!?!?

!!Disclaimer!! I have had no prior exposure to the Metal Gear Solid series before playing this game so every point that I make is coming from a fresh player's perspective. This review does not include the online portion of the game. Now that we have that out of the way on to the review.


Being a couple of games behind, I knew that I couldn't just jump into the series without learning what the story was so far so I did read up on the story of Metal Gear Solid series. I didn’t really get 100% of it but I got the gist of it. WWI happens, a group is assembled to prevent another war like that one to occur again, corruption in the ranks, betrayal, and all that good stuff. If you are also new to the series I suggest you read up on the backstory otherwise you won’t really understand the characters or what the goal of the organization is. After understanding the story to best ability I dove in.


Overview:

Did it make sense? No but who cares! It's awesome. 
The Phantom Pain starts off with the events that took place after Ground Zero where you were sent to recover Paz and Chico to prevent them from releasing intel on you and your organization. You do end up recovering Paz and we take out that giant box of C-4 from her chest cavity...but wait! There's another one. BOOM! Fast forward 9 years later and we have our badass of a protagonist, Big Boss, emerge from his coma. Assassins come for you, there’s a girl wearing shirt that 2 sizes too big, a friendly stranger that helps you, and some mystical fire demon that really hates sprinkler systems. Eventually you escape the madness that went down in the hospital, only to be chased by the fire demon on his flaming horse, and a man named Ocelot rides you to safety, end Prologue: Awakening.


Gameplay:


Since I have never played any other Metal Gear Solid before I couldn’t really compare it to any of the previous games, therefore none of my main points will be referring to previous game and I am rating it solely on my experience while playing this game.


Story:

The story in my honest opinion lacked in this game. In my time playing the game, I found myself more interested in playing than I did following the actual storyline. The story seems more than less like a background accessory to the actual experience of infiltrating outposts or military barracks. Not to say that the story is horrible it just didn't keep me on the edge of my seat. After reading the timeline of the series, I feel like many fans of the series would find the story a tad disappointing as well. Now let me be clear the story is NOT BAD! It is a good story and the cinematics during the cutscenes are quite frankly one of the best that I have seen on next gen consoles.   


Side Missions:

The side missions are always fun in any open world game. Who doesn’t like straying away from the main mission to mess around and complete a smaller objective to have a break from all the seriousness of the main story? The cool thing about The Phantom Pain is that the side missions are extremely rewarding and sometimes are even necessary. Don't understand the Russian troops your kidnapping? Well then you better do the side mission to find the interpreter. R&D Team level low? Well how about you save a prisoner being held at this outpost and he’ll work for you to get revenge on those who tortured him. These are just some examples. You can get GMP(currency in game), resources, vehicles, intel, blueprints, and a ton of collectibles from these side missions. Also you can do them at any time you please, just pull out your iDroid and set the landing zone.  To make things even better there are tons of side missions to complete which just means hours upon hours of playtime, so don't expect to complete game in a few measly hours.


New Additions:

As always in new installments of games in established franchises there are many new additions to this game and here are the most impactful ones.


Player Choice-

When it comes to player choice this game has got that down to the Tee. Metal Gear Solid V gives the player complete freedom when it comes to how you wish to complete a mission/ objective. There are so many skills and gadgets at your disposal you are given the freedom to take on your enemies in a vast amount of ways making each attack personalized to your playing style and giving you the gaming experience you chose. Nothing is scripted and you create your own war stories each mission.


Open World-

The open world in this game was larger than I had anticipated, Ground Zero felt claustrophobic and I was a little wary that the open world was going to be disappointing, but I was happy to see that the map was as large as it was. Looking back into the history of the franchise this game is the first to be open world and that being said along with the how well it was done I think it is a great addition to the game. The openness of the area also adds to the freedom you get from the player choice so you don't feel constrained when doing missions.


Enemy Awareness/ Adaptation-

Let me just say bravo to the team that developed the AI in this game, because they did a superb job. The enemies in this game is what I would call the best I have ever seen in any video game I have ever played. Their awareness is surpassed by none, and even at some points it can be a little too good. None the less the enemies make the player feel even more immersed into the game because they feel more realistic. The movements they make, they stop to have conversations with their comrades, and they get suspicious at sudden movements in the bushes or the pitter-patter of your feet on the ground. Not only do they have great awareness but enemies also adapt to your playing style as well. So enemies won’t always have a repetitive feeling to them as you defeat them. Headshot too many enemies and they’ll ship in some helmets. Knock too many people out and they’ll start patrolling in pairs. Attack mostly in the dark then they’ll get night vision-goggles. The list of adaptations seems limitless and increase the game difficulty enough to keep the player thinking.   


Upgrades/ Unlockables-

UNLOCKABLES!!!! Who doesn’t love unlocking stuff in a game? Well if you do then you should definitely play this game. There is a ton of stuff to unlock in this game when it comes to weapons and gadgets to use, but the unlockables don’t stop there. Some of the unlockables are even aesthetic things like camouflage suits and cardboard box skins and stickers. Alongside the unlockables there are also a ton of upgrades for your purchases as well, some being necessary and others are up for you to decide. All the upgrades and purchases depend on to the next addition to the game which is Mother Base.   


Mother Base-

I think this was a really cool component to the game. It was a smart way to make a hub for all your Metal Gear Solid needs. Mother Base is your main base of operations. Here is where all the unlockables and upgrades are done, it’s where your companions are when you’re not on a mission and where all those people you Fulton extract work for you while you are out in the field. With Mother Base you can make multiple platforms each dedicated to a specific functionality. You have a barracks, base development unit, medbay, intel wing, and research and development. Each of these wings/branches of your base develop further based on your fulton extractions and staff assignments. Every person, vehicle, resource, or weapon you extract is sent to the Mother Base. You then use whatever you have collected to make weapons and complete combat missions. All the weapons that you can unlock require GMP(currency in game) and some also have certain level requirements of certain Mother Base teams to be developed.


Mechanics:


Combat-

The combat in this game is a great mix between stealth and action. It's a 3rd person action-shooter with the option to aim in sights in first person for precision aiming. Aside from ground combat you can also mount your helicopter gatling gun, shoot while on horseback, and even use enemy war vehicles as weapons. With so many ways to approach a situation you can use your arsenal of skills to complete any mission however you want. You have all your weapons at your disposal and can use them however you please. Interrogate enemies, knock them out or kill them, sneaky approach or guns blazing. The combat is solely based on you as a player and the decisions you make.


Movement-

You navigate around the area in 3 ways either call a pick up helicopter ride, ride your trusty steed or awesome Mech D-Horse/D-Walker, or just run everywhere. The horse/D-walker are probably my most used forms of transportation as I always find myself straying from the main story to go to some random outpost to blow it up for no apparent reason.
There are even some whacky mechanics of the game. One of them being if you don't take a shower with Big Boss overtime enemies will start to smell you on missions, if it gets bad enough you'll even get water thrown on you by Ocelot and get told to wash yourself. Companions grow with you and have a bond level. Morale of your agents increases the more you make an appearance on base.


Graphics:


All I can say is Wow!! Going into this game I expected good graphics but the cutscenes played so far have been phenomenal. Besides the Witcher 3, I haven't seen graphics this well done on a next gen title yet. The environment was very detailed and well done, although at times it felt a tad repetitive in the beginning. The character models were very well detailed especially for main characters, seeing the blood stains on the clothing as my character got more damaged. The shadows over casting on me while I lay in prone trying to avoid enemy detection. The graphics were just done overall really well and I could not picture this game looking any better than it already does.


Pros and Cons:


Well now that we've discussed the main points I want to talk about the ups and downs of this game

Pros:
+ Mechanically Graphically, and Gameplay wise this game gets an A+
+ Very addicting always found something to do whether it be main story, side mission, or free roam.
+ All my upgrades and unlockable needs were met.
+ Freedom to make my own decisions as to how I progressed throughout the game

Cons:
- No fast travel points, although you could use the helicopter, travel sometimes could be bothersome and time consuming and would be off putting.
- Enemies would respawn everywhere. I understand that enemies needed to respawn at certain points because otherwise an entire area would be barren and that area of the map would be pointless because there would not be a point of revisiting that area, but even at smaller enemy checkpoints enemies would return making it seem like all the killing/fultoning I was doing was pointless.
- Credits rolling after every mission, I don't understand why it is necessary. I do have the capability to skip them the information that is displayed is almost always the same so why not just leave the credits for when I actually complete the game. It doesn't make sense to constantly interrupt my playing experience to flash 5-6 names on the screen
- Lack of environment diversity. The environment is done very well only problem being that if you seen it once you've seen it all. I have visited a lot of the areas of Afghan in the game and most of the areas look so similar in layout that I constantly feel as if I'm always in the same area


Final Verdict:

With all this being said this game is great and definitely a top contender for game of the year. I can see myself playing this game for a while and through playing have even gained an interest in playing other Metal Gear Solid games as well. This was a great addition to my game library and is an experience that I
enjoyed having.

Written By Samuel Dorsainvil



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